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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 10, 2016 12:00am-2:01am EST

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clean environment and when you mention the clean air act and all these other acts, we were all for them and i was back then. in fact, i was the initial sponsor of the clean air act. so with that we'll adjourn. i'd like to have one quick short word with mr. huffman and miss markowitz if i could. thank you. >> all right, barbara. >> that was good. >> i think so.
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later, a look at the influence of state political parties. c-span's washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. on thursday's washington journal, our first guests are senior fellow at the center for american progress and senior fellow at american enterprise institute. joining us to discuss how race, age and other changes to our population could impact this year's election and beyond. then alison cojack for npr joins
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us to talk about the health the care plans of the front-runners. washington journal thursday live at 7:00 a.m. eastern. join the discussion. this year's student cam documentary competition was our largest yet. nearly 6,000 middle and high school students took part alone or in teams of up to three. in all, we received nearly 2,900 entries from 439 schools across the country. even from schools as far away as taiwan and the united arab emirates. now it's time to award $100,000 in prize money to our winners. for this year's contest, students were asked to produce documentaries using our road to the white house theme. specifically, to document what issue they most wanted the candidates to discuss during the presidential campaign. through their entries, students told us that the economy, equality, education and immigration were all top issues.
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our judges have finalized their decisions for one grand prize winner and four first place winners. 150 prizes in all. there is one fan favorite selected by you. now we are happy to announce our top prize winners. our grand prize winner is olivia herd, from oklahoma. her winning documentary titled, up to our necks, addresses the federal debt. >> the united states is $18.153 trillion in dead. so how exactly did america get up to its neck in debt? every year a budget is form ed. the first is decisiiscretionary funding. the second session is mandatory spending, which received $2.45 trillion in the year 2015.
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lastly, there's the interest on the federal debt which received $229 billion. >> as our grand prize winner, she wins $5,000 for her documentary. and the c-span bus will travel to her school so wie can presen her with the check. our first prize winners for middle school are sisters. mia and ava in virginia. their winning documentary is, what should be done about money and politics. >> you see flyers in your mailbox. advertisement on the radio and tv and the internet. this is the way politicians try to get elected. they spend millions of dollars on their campaigns. as soon as one election ends, the fund-raising for the next begins. every day that congress is in session, there are fund-raisers all over the country. in 2012, the presidential election cost about $2.6 billion. you can't help but wonder where does all this money come from? >> the first prize winners of our high school central category
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are 12th graders. they all attend troy high school in troy, michigan. their documentary is titled, the one percent. >> today americans are drowning in issues such as immigration, medicare, terrorism, leaked e-mails. although these are important, the issue that will affect the most persons is the issue of the 1%. >> 1%. 1%. >> 1%. >> not that 1%. this 1%. the shining blue jewel of the united states. the great lakes. >> truly one of the unique resources in the world. largest fresh water resource in the world. there's nothing like it. >> our student cam first prize winners from our high school west category are a 12th grader and a 10th grader who attend
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metropolitan art institute in phoenix. >> the prison systems around the united states have changed radically in the last 20 to 30 years. let me address arizona. 20 years ago, our prison population was about 20,000 people. now our state prison system is over 40,000. the composition of the prison population has also dramatically changed. >> finally, our fan favorite was selected through your online voting. we're happy to announce the winners will receive $500. our first prize winners for high school east category. 10th graders from montgomery, blair high school in silver spring, maryland. their documentary is driving
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forward and it tackles highway and bridge funding. >> americans love moving around. we love fast cars, big trucks, road trips, horsepower and 70 mile per hour speed limits. we drive farther and have more cars than any other country in the world. for all our love of what we drive, we tend to take what we drive on for granted. america's 2 million miles of roads and 600,000 bridges are aging, congested and often dangerous. >> thanks to all of the students and teachers who competed this year. congratulations to all of our winners. the top 21 winning entries will air or c-span in april. all the winning entries are available for viewing online at stude agriculture secretary tom vilsack was on capitol hill hill today to outline the $24.6 billion budget request for 2017. that's $1 billion less than in
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2016. this senate agriculture rural development fda and related agency subcommittee hearing is just under two hours.
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>> i pretended to care about senator murphy's arrival. in his absence, we're going to proceed. i call this committee hearing together. we appreciate the secretary joining us once again. as you would expect, the purpose is to examine the administration's fiscal year 2017 budget request. in addition to secretary vilsack, we welcome dr. j
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johanssen. thank you for joining us in a discussion about agricultural economics. mr. young, thank you for your presence today. agriculture supports 16 million jobs nationwide. it's the backbone of my state, my community and states and communities across the country. we also know unfortunately as indicated last week, farmers are phasing a dramatic reduction in commodity prices and falling revenues. and we know the facts that indicate 2013 to 2015 net farm income fell 54%. in these times, it's critical that our nation's safety net for farmers and ranchers perform well. and allow them to continue to grow and raise the most abundant food supply in the world. as i indicated in our conversation, in the absence of doing that, they will not be around in good types. therefore, i would express my disappointment that the president's budget proposes
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significant cuts to crop insurance. even though we had a grass-roots effort that successfully reversed a reduction, that reduction pales in comparison to what this year's proposal in the budget requests. as this subcommittee works to craft this year's appropriation bill, my priority will be to focus on agriculture producers in the rural communities in which they live. keeping a strong safety net is at the forefront of the effort. i look forward to discussing these issues and others at today's hearing. when the senator arrives, we will give him the opportunity to make any statement he would like to make. i will turn to secretary sill sack. secretary vilsack, we will begin with your testimony. >> thank you very much. to senator merkley and other members of the committee, thank you for the country to be here
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today. i thought i would take this opportunity to point out that budgets are often a lot about numbers. but behind each of these numbers there are individuals and people we care deeply about. i thought i would take a little bit of my time today to discuss the people who will be benefitted from the agricultural budget. budget we submitted to the senate and to the house will support 43,000 farm loans. we have already over the last seven years provided 239,000 farmers with the credit that they need to be able to operate and own their farm operation. 80% of those resources going to those beginning in the farming business and socially disadvantaged producers. this budget will continue to support our export as ssistance. we are excited about the possibility of during the last seven years reaching nearly a trillion dollars of ag exports, which is a report. a 45% increase over the previous seven-year period. this does provide coverage for
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the $92 billion crop that will be grown and raised this year through crop insurance and provides what we estimate to be an 18% return on investment for the companies crop insurance. 44 million acres to a record number of rural acres in our conservation program. we're pleased with the reaction and response to the rccp program which is leveraging nearly $2 for every dollar we are investing in conservation. in addition to providing opportunities for credit, we also will as the chairman indicated continue to administer the farm bill safety net programs. last year we provided 900,000 produce producers. arc or plc payments totals $5.2 billion. our expectation is that that amount will increase this year to provide the necessary bridge to better times. at the same time, we're going to make sure that we create more innovation and opportunity in rural america. the budget we propose will support 55,000 new jobs added to the 450,000 jobs that we have
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saved. or created as a result of investments in over 100,000 businesses in the last seven years through rural development. this budget will finance 167,000 home loans, which will allow us to exceed a million home loans in the last seven years. finance nearly 1,000 community facilities. provide safer and better water for 1.7 real americans which will reach nearly 20 million rural americans who have benefitted from over 5,000 water and waste water projects that have been financed by usda since i've been secretary. our budget proposed a threefold increase in broadband grants. there are reasons for business, for farmers as well as potential expansion of distance learning and tele-medicine which will become important in rural america if we're to make sure that our youngsters are well prepared for a very competitive future. if we're able to deal with the opioid issue which i know is an issue that many of you are very, very concerned about as i am. this budget will also fully fund
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our research initiative meeting the goal that was set when the national institute of food and agriculture was first established of $700 million of assistance for research. there's never been a more important time in agriculture for additional research, whether pollinators, pest and diseases that we're dealing with as a result of a changing climate. we have ted 429 pat enteents through our research initiative. i will support and provide additional resources for the important role of the agricultural research service within usda. on nutrition side, this will support 8.1 millionillion wic p. i'm interested and hopeful we are able to see an expansion of our summer feeding program.
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it will add a million youngsters to the opportunity to access food during the summer months. this also will provide an opportunity for us to focus on senior citizens and their access to snap. only 41% of eligible senior citizens are receiving the benefits. we would like to see that percentage increase. this is a budget, mr. chairman, that also will allow for an expansion of local and regional food systems. i would say that even though this is not the purview of this committee, i would hope this is the year we fix the fire budget. that's an impact on every other aspect of the usda budget. i'm at the point where folks have raised concerns about trails and a variety of other facets of the forest service that we're not going to what we have done in the past which is to transfer money for fire suppression. hopefully this is the year that congress gets serious about fire suppression. this is also a budget, i might
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add, that is i$1.8 billion less than budget submitted in the first full year of this administration. we have been dealing with constrained budgets. but we have done this through the administrative services process which saved $1.4 billion and through a program has saved over 300,000 hours of time and saved $65 million to constituents and customers we serve. all in an effort to try to continue to do better and more with less. i look forward to questions from the committee. i appreciate the opportunity to be here. >> mr. secretary, we appreciate your presence here. i appreciate the numbers i times you have reached tout me and providing me with information and meeting in the office and phone calls. i'm grateful for the working relationship we have. let me ask a couple of questions. then we will move to my colleagues quickly. i will have an opportunity to ask more again later. let me start with the snap issue. february 17, the food and nutrition service publish proposed rules in regard to
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snap. as you will recall, this was a significant contentious issue in the farm bill. my question to you is -- my understanding is that those rules, those proposed rules have a significant consequence on potentially the convenience store setting, perhaps small grocery store setting and i have a particular interest in that because in my m rural communities, there is no grocery store or convenience store is one of the sole providers of food in many communities across rural america. i would be interested in hearing your thoughts. but my specific question is, would you entertain positively the idea of a longer comment period than the 60 days that you are currently proposing? >> mr. chairman, obviously, we will respect your request and certainly take a look at what extension it would make sense. we obviously want to look at the comments and find out what people think and feel about this.
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we obviously want to give people appropriate time to comment on this. this is an important issue. it's an important issue from the standpoint of the convenience store. it's also an important issue in terms of access to good, wholesome food. as we deal with the obesity crisis and the health care costs that result from obesity. part of the challenge is that folks who do live in rural, remote areas do not have access to the wide array and diversity of foods that others are fortunate to have. we believe it's not asking too much for convenience store owns and operators to provide a broader array of resources and choices for people who are snap beneficiaries. so that's the purpose of the rule. i think there's also the belief that we -- we can partner with these convenience stores in an effort to increase and enhance the nutritional value of what's being sold at the convenience stores. >> i appreciate what i took as a positive comment. you will talk a look at potentially extending the
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comment period. i appreciate that, mr. secretary. let me ask about another rule. on monday, you indicated in conversations in front of an organization here i think in washington, d.c. that you anticipated that there would be revised rules. you expected them to be finalized before you leave office. given the overwhelming congressional opposition to the previously proposed rules, what changes do you plan to make? what discussions and outreach have you had with stakeholders in this regard? >> mr. chairman, that process is still ongoing. no commitments specifically have been made in terms of what those rules will look like. we realize that congress lifted the restriction on our ability to work on these issues. i have asked the team to take a look at what modifications or changes would be appropriate given the concerns that have been expressed in the past. and also to determine whether or not what we wer


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